Henry Clay Ferris
Contributed by Annette Canpbell
HENRY CLAY FERRIS IS RIGHT METTLE FOR SHERIFF JOB
Record As Under-Sheriff Shows His
Fitness For Promotion
At the time when gangsters of lesser fame have a way of
casually taking leave of prisons of far greater strength and man-power than the
Greene County Jail, the man who was second in command of the jail which safely
incarcerated eight of the vicious metropolitan Coll gang and three of the
slicker Diamond racket men at the same time, may be expected to rate certain
recognition at the polls when the ballots are counted in the election of a new
Sheriff next month.
Since the law forbids the re-election of Sheriff it is the
opinion of responsible observers throughout the county that Henry Clay Ferris,
undersheriff, upon whom a large share of the responsibility fell in the hectic
days of Greene County's own war on crime, is a man keyed to his job and trained
in his apprenticeship to the emergencies of the post.
It is revealing to note that two of the Vincent Coll
hoodlums, transferred to Eastview penitentiary in Westchester county, after
entering pleas of guilty here, escaped from there. One, after capture, departed
the second time and the other is still at liberty since his first walkout. But
artists though they were in the disappearing act, as events proved, neither they
nor any other prisoner committed to the sheriff's office during the present
administration has departed informally, in spite of the fact that the jail
structure itself has been known to be unconfining to prisoners under
circumstances of less vigilence.
Mr. Ferris aided in the arrest of Jack Diamond in the
opening round of the Governor Parks kidnapping case and a few months later was
called "to clean up the muss at Aratoga Inn," as Mr. Ferris puts it,
after the second shooting of the dapper gangster.
These references barely reflect the highlights in a
two-year career crowded with duties more perilous and trying than the officers
of any previous administration in the history of law and order preservation in
Greene county have faced. It is for
this that a Sheriff is selected. And when satisfactory execution of such duties
is coupled with the most economical conduct of the office in the experience of
the county, little more can be hoped in a man's qualifications for promotion.
Worthy of note, too, is the business-like air which has
pervaded the sheriff's office, which in
times previous has been known as something of a rendeavous for hangers-on.
In the execution of the civil duties of this office Mr. Ferris points
with pride to his satisfactory relations with all with whom he has dealt during
the last two years. "If I win
in this election I will do no different," Mr. Ferris pledged himself in
undertaking the campaign. "I
have no other business engagements and am free to devote my whole time to the
business of the people of the county. I promise my very best in service."
Periodical reports of the State Commission of Correction
have been increasingly commendatory in relation to the conduct and maintenance
of the jail, the repeated criticism of the housing of village prisoners in the
county institution merely redounding to the credit of the administration which
is charged with that much more responsibility, Mr. Ferris, like Sheriff Harold
R. Every, declares that in the interests of economy, he will assume day and
night responsibility for prisoners except for the three months in the summer
when it has been found advisable to maintain a night jailer because of the
increased calls upon the Sheriff's staff.
Born in Ashland, Mr. Ferris was the first supervisor of the
town to serve three consecutive terms, and during that period, 1912-18,
accomplished construction of the state road from Prattsville to Ashland.
His father Clinton Ferris, had served two terms in the Board of
Supervisors and was for many years a Republican county committeeman.
The man who aspires to be the next Sheriff of Greene county has had a
varied career as farmer, a foreman for seven years of the Breakstone &
Levine Creamery in Prattsville and a year on a Nebraska ranch. He proudly claims
membership in Mountain Lodge No. 259, F. & A. M., and Athabasca Tribe of Red
Men at Catskill.